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Quick Photo Tip: Making one person stand out

Isolating just the woman executive takes time.

Isolating just the woman executive takes time.

I’m not sure how many of my fellow photographers out there ever have the need to light and shoot a group of people and make just one of them stand out without the others knowing; and still make the lighting even on everyone. As they now say, “Being politically correct”.

Having complete control of both your exposure and shutter speed is essential, to pull it off. In this executive portrait, I set up in an empty room in the company’s offices. By using  black board in between the lights that are on each of the temporary stand in models (we used so we wouldn’t take up too much of the real executives time), I was able to control the reflected light hitting each one separately. Using my Minolta One Degree Spot Meter model ‘F’ for both ambient and electronic flash readings I matched the light on all three executives.

Now having the light readings the same, I then could control my DOF. I could have all three in focus, just the man in the middle, or the man on the left end. In this situation, the woman was the key executive, and the one the company wanted to feature in their annual report to the stockholders.

By using a 300mm telephoto lens, I could isolate the woman at F/2.8 even though the next man was sitting close to her. I did this by getting as close to her as the lens would focus, approx. twelve feet.

Then it was time for the real executives to come in and make it look as though they were in a real meeting; instead of looking at a whole lot of diffusion material. I tried countless variations where I had each executive doing something different; as though it was an actual working meeting.

Remember that lighting takes a lot of time to make your photos look good. So many of my online students with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet just don’t take the time necessary when you’re using flash; either inside or outside. They tend to only think about the main subject and let everything else fall where it may…not a very good idea.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016-17 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

Keep sending in your photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.


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